Robert J. Fedor, Esq., L.L.C.

Singapore to crack down on suspected tax evaders

Singapore is a small island nation situated in the Pacific Ocean near Malaysia and Indonesia. While once occupied by various foreign rulers, today Singapore is an independent and sovereign city-state. In an effort to protect the financial interests of businesses and individuals, Singapore has some of the world's most structured policies with regard to banking privacy and secrecy.

While such secrecy rules have helped Singapore grow into the fourth largest offshore financial center, such rules have also helped the city-state become a haven for individuals and businesses hoping to evade taxes in their home countries.

 

In response to growing pressure and criticism from other countries, Singapore is taking steps to crack down on tax evasion. Prior to July 1, banks and financial institutions throughout Singapore are required to notify officials of those accounts believed to hold fraudulent funds or by entities and individuals engaging in tax evasion.

The government has faced criticism from some who fear the dismantling of banking secrecy rules may ultimately hurt Singapore's economy. Currently, residents of Singapore enjoy a high standard of living and the small city-state boasts the highest number of millionaires per capita.

Once the suspect accounts have been identified, the holders of named accounts could potentially face criminal charges. Criminal charges related to tax crimes such as tax fraud and tax evasion are serious and can potentially result in hefty fines and time behind bars. For these reasons, individuals or businesses facing charges related to tax crimes would be wise to seek the counsel and guidance of a tax attorney.

Source: The Chicago Tribune, "Banks in Singapore agonize over rich clients in tax evasion clampdown," May 5, 2013